Tom Duggan’s Notebook – June, 2015



By now you know I’m in a fight to change the state’s fake public records law. One of the things not really discussed in the many stories this month about that fight is the MMA, or the Massachusetts Municipal Association. This is a group that opposes putting penalties on public officials who refuse to comply with the state’s public records law. You know who the members of the MMA are who are opposing my bill (and several others)? That’s right, their members are ELECTED OFFICIALS! Selectmen, city councilors, mayors, town managers, and city clerks are all the people who make up the MMA. And as such, they are the people who will be paying the hefty fines out of their pockets if my bill passes.

What the MMA wants instead of public accountability is for the legislature to create some kind of board or commission to determine what is, and what is not, a public record. Here’s the kicker… THEY want to be on that board or commission. So, what we have here is, elected officials, through their association group, trying to back door this bill. And because the MMA represents ALL municipal public officials, we will never get to know exactly who is behind their opposition.

So, I am calling on ALL members of The Valley Patriot family who serve in elected office (in any capacity) throughout our coverage area. Call and email the MMA and tell them that as MMA members yourselves, YOU SUPPORT S-1700 and the bills to add penalties to MGL Ch. 66, the state’s public records law.


At North Andover’s Annual Town Meeting, a warrant article came up to mandate all town boards be videotaped and broadcast on cable TV so that there can be more “transparency” in the way town officials do the town’s business. The vote was 199-1. Who was that one person who voted against transparency? Why, none other than former candidate for state representative, Selectman Rosemary Smedile. The same Rosemary Smedile who attacked State Rep. Diana DiZoglio for being against “transparency”. In fact, Smedile made “transparency” a main focus of her campaign when she was looking for your vote. But, now that she’s lost the state rep. election, she had no problem voting against transparency herself. This proves once again that when someone points the finger at someone else, there are still three pointing back at them.

World Famous Weatherman Al Kaprielian


Famous weatherman Al Kaprielian has officially joined The Valley Patriot family this month with his new column “Weather 101 with Al!” Each month, Al will explain weather terms and help our readers understand how the weather works. Al will also answer reader mail. So if you want to email Al Kaprielian a weather question he can answer in his column, you can email and put “AL KAPRIELIAN” in the subject box.


Since there are so many stories in the news that are really NOT news, I have decided to make good use of a pet peeve of mine and start shaming the press with a top ten list of stories in the news that may have been cute or interesting, but were NOT NEWS. This month’s top 10:

10 – Family of ducks crossed the highway out west. REALLY? That’s NEWS?

9 – Man calls 911 because angry cat won’t let him back in the house. Just imagine how many missing children the news media could have showcased in the HOURS UPON HOURS of time they spent on that fake news story!

8 – Walmart turns up the heat in their stores because of complaints. UGH!

7 – Ted Cruz Jokes about Joe Biden after Biden’s son dies. Look, he didn’t even tell a joke. He said Biden WAS a joke. For the media to hide behind Biden’s son’s death to portray a Republican as cold and unfeeling, is propaganda, not news. Besides, Cruz had been saying that since before Biden’s son passed away. Don’t believe me? Check out the video on

6 – Marco Rubio gets 4 traffic tickets. Media reports Rubio had 17 tickets, lumping in his wife’s 9 tickets to try and make this a story of a Republican who flouts the law and thinks he’s better than everyone else. A) Dirty political trick. B) NOT NEWS!

5 – Stewardess serves Muslim woman an opened can of diet coke on plane, woman cries discrimination and every channel runs with it, never even verifying the story. This story ran for three days. Every news channel interviewed this Muslim woman. With no verification, they allowed her to go global with a story of discrimination against a specific airline. Not only is this NOT NEWS, it’s journalistic malpractice.

4 – The sexual molestation story about Josh Duggar. He was 14. He was a minor. It happened years ago. If he was a Congressman from Massachusetts sleeping with a 14-year-old page boy, he would be lauded on CNN as a HERO. (Oh right they DID do that didn’t they?) This is propaganda to destroy a TV show that promotes Christian values and family life. The Democrat controlled news media has been desperate to try and kill this TV show in any way they can and because someone broke the law by leaking juvenile records, the Duggar family (not just the offender) have been targeted. Josh is a pedophile (or was?) but with the millions of molestations that have happened in the past to millions of other people, there’s nothing special.. or NEW that makes THIS molestation story “NEWS”.

Media Bias Side note: When Trayvon Martin was in the news for being shot, he was 16 years old and the “news” media called him a “child”. Michael Brown was 17 or 18 years old when he tried to murder a police officer in Ferguson, MO. Yet, he was called a “teen” or a “kid” on every news channel. But Josh Duggar who committed his crime at 14 years old, for some reason, is never characterized as a “child” or a “teen”. By omission, the media purposely leads people to believe Duggar was an adult when he molested his sisters. Not defending Duggar, just condemning the way the media assassinates some people (like White, Christian, conservatives) while people in other demographics (even killers) are treated differently in the news media. I always thought that was called racism, so I am officially calling “Shenanigans”.

3 – The last words of the Boston terrorist shot by cops were: “I CAN’T BREATHE”. His family then goes on TV saying cops “Shot him in the back”. The media never verifies family claim, but runs with the story and quote as fact to make cops look bad. Media side note: It’s interesting that the terrorist have learned exactly how to play into the fake narrative of the “news media” with “I can’t breathe” and “cops shoot a black man in the back”. It’ s obvious, after studying how the media reacted to Ferguson and Baltimore, that they are taking advantage of the media “Dog whistle” issues and have worked it into their terror schemes. Hmmmm. And you wonder why I call the American news media “seditious”?

2 – Denny Hastert “accused” of sexual molestation. A) It’s an ACCUSATION, accusations are NOT NEWS. FACTS are news. When FACTS come out about what a scum bag Denny Hastert was, THEN it will be news. Till then, it’s gossip and rumor… oh and NOT NEWS.

#1 – BRUCE JENNER: Bruce Jenner. There were famous transgenders during WWII, this isn’t exactly groundbreaking and it certainly isn’t NEW. It has no news value and shouldn’t have been on any show other than TMZ. As a side note: The media, Hollywood, and Bruce Jenner himself may want everyone to pretend he’s someone else, but he’s not someone else. All the surgery and makeup and hormones cannot erase Bruce Jenner. People can call him “she” all they want. You can pretend Bruce Jenner never existed and call him Caitlyn if it makes you feel better about yourself. But, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s STILL Bruce Jenner. Pretending he’s not doesn’t make it so.

LAWRENCE – ITS A BOY! Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera and his wife, Paula announced last month the birth of their first child. Daniel Edward Rivera was born at Winchester Hospital on Friday, May 15th, weighing 8 pounds. CONGRATULATIONS!

GR. LOWELL MUSIC THEATRE PUTS ON “ANYTHING GOES! June 26-27, featuring Valley Patriot political cartoonist David Sullivan of Dracut. Dave plays “Moonface”. Also starring Jessica Dee as “Reno,” Dallyn Vail Bayles as “Billy,” Kelley Berman as “Erma,” Peyton Haley James as “Hope,” and John Manning as “Evelyn!” Give us a call at (978) 319-8867 or visit our WEB SITE to purchase tickets!

And don’t forget Eddie Mekka in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, July 31, August 1 & 2. Visit on line to get tickets to both shows!

EVENTS AT THE SALEM, NH VFW: June 12, Meat Raffle, 7pm. June 14, Penny social,1pm. June 19, Just Harry Music Ensemble. $5 donation at door, 7-10pm. June 26, Meat Raffle, 7-10pm. Every Saturday, Live country, $5 donation at door. Salem, NH VFW Post 8546 is located at 42 N. Broadway, Salem, NH, 03079. Call (603) 898-7924 or email Open at 10am, 7 days a week.

PANEL DISCUSSION ON COMMON CORE – Saturday, June 20, 10:30-Noon – Common Core Pro/Con Panel Discussion, sponsored by Common Core Forum. Note: This event is a direct result of the Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee’s resistance to a public airing of this important issue. Frustrated citizens created a Petition asking School Committee members if they would attend a public discussion. See article below for the Committee’s incredible response and the actual Petition (signed by 412 citizens over one weekend). The discussion will be held at the Northborough Free Library, Library, 34 Main Street. Please RSVP to and spread the word, especially via social media.

PULBIC COURT RECORDS: The Trial Court Public Access to Court Records Committee will hold an open hearing on June 15 to consider comments concerning access to publicly available court case records.

Chief Justice Paula M. Carey appointed the committee to develop and propose uniform Trial Court rules governing the public’s access to view or copy court case records, including paper and electronic case records, in a courthouse and on the Internet, consistent with current state laws, court rules and appellate court decisions.

The hearing will be held from 4-6pm, on the second floor of the Suffolk County Superior Courthouse, 3 Pemberton Square, Boston. Those interested in speaking at the hearing should register by June 10 via email to

Prior to the hearing, registrants will receive a time frame for their appearance. Comments should be limited to 10 minutes; the committee welcomes written submissions separately or to supplement oral comments.

Anyone unable to attend the hearing but interested in providing comments may do so by emailing, or by U.S. mail to Joseph Stanton, Clerk, Appeals Court, Room 1200, One Pemberton Square, Boston, MA, 02108-1705.


The Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring it’s first ever Lowell City Council Candidates Forum. The event will focus solely on business issues, and is scheduled for October 1 at 7pm. It is co-sponsored by 980-WCAP, Lowell Telecommunications, The Lowell Sun & the Khmer Post.

Morning Host Teddy Panos moderates the Forum, which will be held at the LTC studios on Market Street. All questions will be submitted by Greater Lowell Chamber members. The event will be simulcast on 980-WCAP & LTC channels 8 & 99.


With June being National Safety Month and summer being the prime season for family relocation, the leading personal finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis on 2015’s Safest States to Live In. HERE

To help prospective movers find a safe location in which to lay down roots, WalletHub analyzed the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 20 key metrics. Some of the metrics in our data set include the number of assaults per 100,000 residents, the number of fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 employees and the percentage of the population lacking health insurance coverage.

Safety Conditions in Massachusetts (1=Safest; 25=Avg.)
1st – Share of the Population with No Health Insurance
9th – Number of Murders & Non-Negligent Manslaughters per 100,000 Residents
11th – Estimated Property Losses from Climate Disasters per 100,000 Residents
2nd – Number of Fatal Occupational Injuries per 100,000 Employees
2nd – Number of Fatalities per 100 Million Vehicle Miles of Travel
22nd – Number of Law Enforcement Employees per 100,000 Residents
22nd – Unemployment Rate
5th – Bullying Incidents Rate
9th – Number of Sex Offenders per 100,000 Residents


Treble Chorus of New England’s newly appointed Artistic Director, John Middleton­Cox has announced open auditions for all choirs to help celebrate the groups 40th Season. TCNE boasts a number of premier vocal ensembles; Training Choir (ages 6-­9), Concert Choir (ages 10-­13), Schola Choir (ages 14­-18), and the Opera Program (ages 10-18).
TCNE choirs are directed by an outstanding teaching staff and perform in and around the Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Seacoast throughout the year. This year’s concert schedule includes a number of local venues culminating with a year-end performance at the Rogers Center for Performing Arts at Merrimack College and an International Tour is also planned.

Many of the TCNE alums have gone on to Ivy League Schools and Music Conservatory’s throughout the country. All auditions and rehearsals are held at the West Parish Church Campus in Andover, MA.

To schedule your appointment, please contact: Anna at 978.470.TCNE (8263) or Email Melanie at:


Farmers Market season to begin next month with new locations!

The Groundwork Farmers Markets feature a wide variety of local produce, as well as crafts. Since assuming management of the downtown market in 2006, Groundwork Lawrence has sought to increase access to the market for all shoppers by accepting SNAP/EBT, credit and debit cards, and working to increase the redemption of WIC and Senior Farmers Market coupons.

Today, the market provides a lively gathering place for the whole community with free attractions such as live entertainment, family activities and cultural and educational exhibits.

Visit us during the following new times and locations:

Wednesdays, 10AM – 3PM at 372 Essex St, Lawrence, MA. Located at the Food Truck Park, July 8-October 21.
Fridays, 10AM – 3PM at Holy Family Hospital, 70 East St., Methuen, MA. Located by the Gazebo near the Convent Building, July 10-October 23.

Saturdays, 10AM – 3PM at Sullivan Park, Winthrop Ave (Rt.114), Lawrence. Intersection of Winthrop Ave & N. Parish Road, next to the Memorial Stadium, July 11-October 24.


Registration is OPEN and FILLING UP FAST for the Firehouse’s Summer Vacation Program: Glee Club!!
New this summer, TWI sessions:

Monday-Friday; June 29-July 3, and Monday-Friday, August 17-21.
Times for both summer sessions:
2nd-5th grade: 9AM-12PM
6th-12th grade: 1: -4PM

Information on the GLEE CLUB program and downloadable registration forms can be found at:
*NOTE: Before sending in registration forms. Call 978-499-9931 to confirm space available. Program Fee: $135/session. Enrollment is limited!

On Friday, June 19th and Saturday, June 20th, Lowell will kick off the summer season with a mini-festival in the heart of the downtown, featuring artist booths, children’s activities, music, en plein air painters and more. Lowell’s favorite ‘gator family—Canaligator, Millie-Gator and Allie-Gator—will also be on hand to meet and greet their many fans. Hours for the event will be Friday from 2-7pm. and Saturday from 12-6pm. Palmer Street will be closed between Market and Middle, and between Middle and Merrimack Streets during the event on both days. Friday will focus on art and music as some artists set up their booths while others set up their easels. Watch as artists’ visions of downtown scenes come alive on their canvasses. On Saturday, the artists will be joined by staff from the City of Lowell’s Recreation Department who will organize games for children and by the Lowell Spinners’ colorful and cuddly mascots. Youngsters are invited to display their artistic talents by creating sidewalk chalk art.

“The Summer Kickoff Festival is a great way to begin the season and to showcase all that the City has to offer,” said City Manager Kevin Murphy. “With a growing artist community, unique restaurants and family friendly attractions, there certainly is a lot to like about Lowell this summer!”

Food and festivals go hand-in-hand and hungry visitors will have no shortage of options as they enjoy a meal or a snack at one of Lowell’s many fine restaurants, or pick up locally and organically grown goodies at the Mill City Grows mobile market. Sidewalk sales at participating businesses will offer special deals for shoppers. Parking in the Leo Roy Garage on Market Street will be free during the event.

The weekend also marks the start to the Lowell Summer Music Series at Boardinghouse Park. The Summer Kickoff Festival is made possible by the City of Lowell, The Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Downtown Lowell Merchant’s Association, Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association and Made in Lowell. For complete details, visit or call (978) 674-4260.

NECC OPEN HOUSE – Are you still uncertain about your plans for the fall? It’s not too late to enroll at Northern Essex Community College. Enroll full time, part time, or take just one class.

NECC is both flexible and affordable. Classes are offered during the day, in the evening, online, and on campus. Attend an upcoming Admission Information Session on Thursday, June 4, at 10am or Wednesday, June 24, at 5pm. in the Behrakis One-Stop Student Services Center on the Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott Street or Friday, June 12, at 10am. and Tuesday, July 14, at 10am. in the Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center on the Lawrence Campus, 414 Common Street.

NECC Representatives will be on hand to answer questions on financial aid, NECC programs, and more. Are these dates not convenient? Walk-in hours are Monday through Thursday, 9am-6:30pm, and Friday, noon to 4:30pm. For additional information contact NECC’s Enrollment Services at 978-556-3700, or write to Or visit the NECC website at


The Rockingham Writers Group is seeking additional members. If you have an interest in writing a novel, short story, memoir, magazine articles or a Self-Help book, contact This is not a writing course, therefore we expect writers to have a rudimentary grasp of writing fundamentals. We are a small focused group whose objectives is to assist one another to improve our writing skills and to become published writers. Three of our members are published writers and one is a published novelist. We meet the second Tuesday of each month, 10AM to 12PM, at the Kelly Library in Salem, NH.


The following students have made the third-quarter honor roll at Austin Preparatory School in Reading.
DRACUT: HONORS: Rebecca Lowe, Alexis Nichols, Evan Zonderman
HAVERHILL: HONORS: Alexander Gilmore
LAWRENCE: HONORS: Natalie Arenas
METHUEN: HONORS: Adriana Farias, Maria Luccisano, Eric Naish
NORTH ANDOVER: DISTINCTION: Michael Kamelle, Emily Mastrocola, Michael Roche
HONORS: Danielle Abdennour, Stanley Alger, Christopher Applegate, Elizabeth Boucher. Kevin Callahan, Megan Mahan, Salina Nihalani, Molly O’Leary, Avani Patel, Alessandra Petrozza, Margaret Raymond, Madison Rieumont, Olivia Zdrojewski.


The Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Inc. has been awarded more than $30,000 in two grants to address adult literacy and the prevention of homelessness. The funding will assist ongoing GLCAC programs to teach English to non-native speakers and provide emergency assistance to individuals facing the loss of housing due to financial hardship.

“Two of the barriers to individuals escaping poverty are a lack of English-language skills and housing insecurity. These grants will help us create opportunities for individuals to learn new skills and careers by first learning to communicate in English. The funds will also prevent the dislocation of individuals who are unable to make a rent or mortgage payment,” said Evelyn Friedman, Executive Director of the GLCAC.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera awarded $15,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding for GLCAC’s English for Speakers of Other Languages, an adult literacy program. “Your project helps the City of Lawrence meet our goals to strengthen the community and make Lawrence a better place to live,” Rivera wrote in the grant award letter.

In addition, GLCAC received $18,392 from the federal Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program, administered locally by the Salvation Army in Haverhill. The money is intended to provide emergency financial assistance to prevent eviction or foreclosure.

GLCAC is a social services agency that annually assists 29,000 individuals in Greater Lawrence. GLCAC’s wide range of services, from heating assistance to daycare, focus on lifting families out of poverty and setting them on a pathway to economic stability. GLCAC is a proud partner with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. For more information on GLCAC, visit

CORRECTION – Last month, we ran a book review in the notebook section called Dig and Dig Deep but forgot to credit Susan Piazza for the book review. Sorry Susan.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and manmade.

Slow down, avoid strenuous activity. Do not try to do too much during the hottest hours of the day. Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty. Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your body. Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat. Stay indoors as much as possible.

Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat. If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate sweat, which cools your body. Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day. Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating. Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle. Check on family, friends and neighbors. For additional information during a heat-wave call #211 for information on Cooling Stations.

Upcoming Socials: North Andover Country Club Golf Passes are available with reception. Two (2) 7 week programs are available to North Andover, age 60+senior residents. Courtesy Passes are $6, one program per senior with proof of residency only. Tee times are on Mondays, from12:30 – 2:30. 9 holes $15 and 18 holes $20. Dress code required.
In June we will once again be starting the in-house meals. Wednesdays we will be returning with the Fresh Table. Sign up is limited to 30 seniors and you must pay ($5) at time of sign up by the Friday before. Menus available with reception.

SUPPER CLUB: Thursday June 18th, at FUSION Restaurant in Methuen. Sign up begins June 3rd. Bus transportation $4 payable at time of sign up. Dinner reservation is for 4:30.
DAY TRIP TO HAMPTON BEACH: to see the Annual Sand Sculptures. Friday June 19th. Bus $6, lunch on your own. Trip departs 10:30 from the Senior Center.

PIZZA LUNCH WITH THOMSON SCHOOL 4TH GRADERS. Friday June 19th at 12 noon. Sign up limited to (50) North Andover Seniors. STACHEY’S donates the pizza.

ICE CREAM SOCIAL: Sponsored and served by Peregrine’s Landing Assisted Living. Wednesday June 24th, 12:30 at the North Andover Senior Center. Sign up required at reception.

MORRISEY BOULEVARD MUSEUM HOP: Thursday June 25th. Travel to Morrisey Boulevard in Boston to explore the Harbor Point Museums: JFK Presidential Library, Edward M Kennedy Institute for US Senate or The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Archives. Bus departs at 9:30. Cost for van $6, museum admission $12, (Commonwealth Museum is free) and bring a picnic lunch or on your own at the JFK café.
GREATER LOWELL MUSIC THEATRE presents “ANYTHING GOES” Sunday June 28th. Tickets and transportation $25. Bus departs at 1pm. Sign up with reception. Limited to 12 seniors.

CHESS CLUB: Interested in LEARNING or TEACHING? Tuesdays 1-3 Call reception 978-688-9560 to sign up.

ONE ON ONE COMPUTER INSTRUCTION: 45 minute sessions for $7. Tuesdays with George Chory and Thursdays with Tom Kooken. Hours are 9-12. Make your appointments with reception 978-688-9560. This time can accommodate gadgets, too, if necessary (Phones, Tablets, etc.)

S.H.I.N.E. VOLUNTEERS: (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Free, confidential counseling on all aspects of health insurance to North Andover residents on Medicare; Call center for an appointment. Third Tuesday of the month, in June, July and August.

NEWS & VIEWS: Every Wednesday at 10–11:30. Come and join in the lively discussion of current events, politics, history and you never know what else?!

MEET WITH AN ATTORNEY: Atty. Ray Cannon, June 3rd and Atty. Ramsey Bahrawy, June 16th. Schedule with Reception-first consult is free.

R. FIX IT: First and Third THURSDAY of the month from 12-3pm. We repair almost as good as new. Lamps, with cords and sockets, replace watch batteries, small tables and chairs. Anything that is not listed, we will give it a shot! Your cost is $2 – $4 depending on work needed, plus parts. Proceeds benefit the Senior Center.

WALK IN CLINIC: Wednesdays 9-12 pm, the North Andover Senior Center and Home Health Inc/VNA operate a wellness clinic. If you are a North Andover Senior, we urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to check your blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and blood oxygen levels. Consult privately with an RN regarding any medication and health issues that you are concerned about. There is no charge for this service. Donations are gratefully accepted.
FOOT CARE: RN Catherine Languedoc, Foot Care Specialist ($25), 3rd Friday of every month from 8:30-2:30.

WALKING GROUP- Our Walking Group walks at the Youth Center morning at 9 a.m., must wear appropriate foot gear for inside the gymnasium. Volunteers are the backbone of the North Andover Senior Center, we currently need Medical Transport Volunteers. You can set your own hours. Call the Senior Center for more information. Speak with our Program Coordinator at 688-9560 for an application and assistance.